The Nature of Reality: Buddhist Scholar Alan Wallace in dialogue with Physicist Sean Carroll

During my undergraduate studies in philosophy at the University of Montana, I took a 'capstone' class on Philosophy of Mind. We started with Descartes, setting out the direction that Western thinkers would take: the problem of mind (immaterial, without spatial relations) and body (material, spatially located) interacting with one another. This is the "mind-body problem" and it vexed Descartes 400 years ago and it vexes those who look deeply into it today.The "problem" is not only in regard … [Read more...]

Atheist engagement with Buddhism: denying (or redefining) awakening

I have long believed that positions, religious or otherwise, can be strengthened or (wisely) abandoned when met with careful argumentation. Do your claims to "X" hold up? If not, why not let them go?So I was pleased to read a post today on the Atheist Channel here at Patheos asking "Was the Buddha enlightened?"There, Eric Sotnak presents a well-reasoned case against the Buddha's enlightenment (or awakening) based on the doctrine's connection to rebirth and the lack of evidence for … [Read more...]

Greed and Delusion in Wells Fargo. Or “In Praise of the Ethical Man”

In this current political season, in which both major candidates have given rise to unprecedented levels of distrust - much deserved though some certainly not - it is all the more important to call to mind the fundamental goodness and growing morality of the American populous. Both of those - fundamental goodness and growing morality - are subject to debate, I know. But I am an optimist, and a fan of evidence. I know that my own situation is far from perfect (as an adjunct professor at a liberal … [Read more...]

“Our Buddhist University and the Role of Intellectualism in our Studies” a Call for Papers

The Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Universities (IABS), based in Bangkok, has issued a call for papers today examining the role of intellectualism in Buddhist studies. The key questions posed for the upcoming edition of the journal are: In your Buddhist University or Buddhist Studies Program, what is the role of intellectualism within your program? How is intellectualism promoted or prohibited? Some professors promote critical thinking skills within their studies, some … [Read more...]

Buddhist Ethics has a good day: on Philosophy, East and West

Almost 3 years ago exactly, 3 AM Magazine interviewed Jay Garfield, one of the best-known Buddhist philosophers in academia today. I wrote about that interview and still look back fondly on the comments and conversations that ensued.So it was with great joy that I saw 3 AM Magazine's latest interview with a Buddhist philosopher: Nicolas Bommarito, who teaches at NYU and the University of Buffalo. It was a great reminder that great thought within the academy is still being devoted to Buddhist … [Read more...]

Phenomenology as a doorway into Indian Philosophy

The Journal of the British Society of Phenomenology has announced a selection of free articles from past issues.Included, along with heavyweights of the Western phenomenological tradition such as Nancy, Lyotard, Gadamer, Sartre, Warnock, Heidegger and Husserl, is J.N. Mohanty's “Phenomenology and Indian Philosophy: The Concept of Rationality”, Vol. 19, No. 3, 1988, pp. 269-281. (direct link here)In the paper Mohanty shows the struggles we face in understanding non-Western philosophies. Th … [Read more...]

All Good Intentions: But does Sam Harris have what it takes to be Buddhist?

A guest post by Marek Sullivan:The recent email scuffle between linguistics professor and political commentator Noam Chomsky, and atheist neuroscientist Sam Harris has brought to light the severity of Harris’s emphasis on intention as the ultimate moral parameter in questions of military ethics. According to Harris, “Ethically speaking, intention is (nearly) the whole story.” This is how he can claim that Bill Clinton and Osama Bin Laden live “in a different moral universe entirely,” or elsew … [Read more...]

Introducing the Middle Way Society, an interview with Robert M. Ellis

Today we're interviewing Robert M. Ellis, a UK philosopher and formerly ordained Buddhist (in the FWBO, now TBC) about his new undertaking, the Middle Way Society. I have personally been in touch with Robert for a number of years now, having exchanged a few emails back when I began my PhD and moved to London in 2007. Since then we have mostly crossed paths of our blogs and those of fellow Buddhist-philosophy type people, and earlier this year I had the opportunity to meet Robert in person here … [Read more...]